Friday, October 07, 2005

BlackBerry Maker in Microsoft Crosshairs

Technology News writes that the mobile e-mail market will heat up over the coming months, "and it's a battle that BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) is destined to lose."

With Microsoft making a big push for the mobile enterprise the market is set to change. Ellen Daley at Forrester Research said, "Microsoft failed in that middle component. It never got its act together to push e-mail out automatically from the Exchange server to a device. Microsoft said, 'I'm sick of RIM eating my lunch.'"

Peter Pawlak at Directions on Microsoft said, "There's a battle shaping up there, but I'd say that Microsoft has the ultimate advantage over the long haul because it has more resources, more device support and a simpler solution."

Forrester's Daly added: "Microsoft is going to win. But it's important to know what win is going to mean. For wireless email, RIM is going to remain the best solution. And if all you want is wireless e-mail, then RIM is going to win. But if you want something else beyond wireless e-mail, then Microsoft wins. RIM is going to survive, but it's going to be the Macintosh -- the best user experience for wireless e-mail, but it won't get a lot of traction in companies for line of business applications -- field service, sales force and such."

On getting a foothold in the business applications area, Daly said, "It requires a higher skill set to develop applications in [a Java] environment, which means it costs more versus a Microsoft skill set. People just like Microsoft interfaces because they're familiar with them. Yes, RIM has the capability in that space, but will they win there? Not really."

Ken Hyers at ABI Research said, "The RIM solution is known to be very secure, which is a huge issue with IT managers. They've become an industry standard now, and I don't think Microsoft's e-mail solution is quite as good. But a year from now, we could have a new solution from Microsoft and simply because of its scale and overall acceptance in the enterprise market, it may become a new norm."

Daly added, "We can't discount how hard getting this right is and the reliability that RIM has been offering enterprises for a while. Sure, Microsoft may make their date and deploy in Q4, but it could be a good year before things really get going."